Practice each lesson straight from the page while listening to an experienced teacher:
Mridanga Vidvan T.R. Sundaresan in Chennai, the cultural capital of South India.
All the lessons are easy to follow and remember with the help of transcriptions supplied as PDF.
The lessons may be viewed on any screen during practice or read from a printout.
So go ahead with confidence and discover – by yourself or together with others – how indeed, "the sky is the limit" in Carnatic music.
This time-proven method is equally accessible, for different age groups just as students from different cultural backgrounds. Even to pass some extra time in an enjoyable manner. In short, anywhere, any time!
Practice can be done quietly ("in one's head"), without having to disturb anyone around
Ideally this is done together with others, be it in a classroom, dance studio or in the open air.
Whether practice is done silently or by clapping aloud while clearly pronouncing the syllables, all depends on a learners situation and needs.
This "mini-course" is intended for those willing to make an extra effort – as with any art, craft or science worth exploring.
The talas offered here provide the rhythmic foundations for the greatest number of compositions bequeathed by Carnatic composers, over a period of several centuries until today. Mastering these talas is therefore essential for all students of Carnatic music, aspiring vocalists just as instrumentalists.
Immersion in this kind of practice opens the doors to new discoveries, such as the arithmetic underpinnings of a music appreciated all over southern India.
For lay listeners, repeated practice of these talas means to better appreciate the artistic refinement of the Carnatic tradition.
Neither musical instruments nor prior experience are needed: simply practice with your voice, assisted by hand gestures and finger counts.
Tips for classroom situations
Experience shows that even young learners will progress rapidly once they have become familiar with a tala lesson.
The following approach has proven to work particularly well with larger groups
Step 1 First practice each of the following three tasks together in a moderate tempo:
- maintaining the tempo with hand gestures and claps as indicated on the PDF-sheet
- counting units
- pronouncing the syllables
Step 2 Once participants have become confident, subdivide the group into three. This allows you to assign each sub-group with one of the above tasks, accompanied by the other sub-groups before letting them take turns.
Step 3 Adapt the lessons to a creative process that suits your situation, within Carnatic music and beyond.
All of this works equally well with open-minded adult learners, however inexperienced. Think of intercultural collaborations among performers and composers in search of a common ground, all based on actual music making rather than abstract ideas.